You can do that with a rotary cutter?
When I first started sewing, I bought a fabric scissor since the scissors in my house were all super dull. I read online that having a scissor dedicated just for fabric is the way to go, so that's what I did - went to Joann's and got me a pair of scissors. There's so many choices to choose from and I'm not sure what the difference is for all of them, but this post is about a rotary cutter and not scissors, so maybe another "scissors" post will be coming soon.
So how do I get from scissors to rotary cutter? This morning I woke up thinking "I need a new blade for my rotary cutter", because I'm at the point where I have to pass the rotary cutter on average 1.5 times before it actually cuts fabric. Then I thought "wow I'm come a long way from using scissors to rotary cutter for cutting my pattern pieces", and started reminiscing of the good ol' days when I used my scissors to cut everything.
So, when did rotary cutters come into my life? I got my first one, and a self healing cutting mat about 3 years into my sewing adventure (so that makes it 2+ years ago). Since I learn sewing skills mostly by watching YouTube and reading other sewists' blogs, I saw that most of them were using/mentioning rotary cutters. So, I said to myself - if they can do it, so can I!
For the last 2 years, I used the rotary cutter strictly for straight line cutting, using my quilting ruler at the cutting line and just cut cut cut. I felt that I graduated a level because I was now using a rotary cutter! It was like a whole new world opened up because it made cutting straight lines so much faster! It definitely made me prepare the fabrics and cutting the patterns so much more bearable (I confess, prepping for the actual sewing is not my favorite part).
Then one day, I saw a YouTube video of a guy cutting his pattern with a rotary cutter, and he used the cutter for the ENTIRE pattern! I've always only used the cutter for the straight lines, and still went back to using scissors for my curves and rounded areas. But he used the rotary cutter to cut curves too! I was like "WHAAAAAAAAAT?, you can do that with a rotary cutter too??? How does he not cut himself? And how can he be so precise and fast at the same time?" I was amazed! I kept watching the video over and over again. Unfortunately, I can't find that video again, but here's another video from DoItBetterYourself.club that goes over rotary cutters and you'll see around 4:57 that she cuts the knit fabric completely with a rotary cutter! There are plenty other videos that cut fabric with rotary cutters too, but I thought this one was very simple and easy to understand.
Yet, I was dumbfounded about this new discovery. And I had so many questions, but mainly - how is it possible - the rotary cutter is very sharp and you're essentially winging it and hoping your rotary cutter follows the pattern line. And if you put your fingers close to the edges of the pattern, wouldn't I run the risk of cutting myself and lose a finger? That thing is very sharp y'all!
So, determined once again, I kept watching YouTube videos of people cutting with rotary cutters and did some practice on fabric scraps. Finally, two weeks ago, I used a rotary cutter to cut the entire pattern of my first top EVER: McCalls #M7322 with a challis fabric I got from a tiny shop during my visit to Nicaragua. It took me a little while but y'all - it's completely doable!!! I was scared still about chopping my fingers off, but little by little, I went on forward and the next thing I knew, I was done!
So, what is there to learn after all this? Rotary cutters are not only to cut straight lines, they cut curves too! Just be careful and you're fingers will thank you.
Oh yah, my rotary cutter is a bit dull now, so onto researching how to sharpen them or how to replace the blades! #alwayslearning.